Intelligence Report: Player reaction to NBA's new ball
Get A Grip
While Shaquille O'Neal has criticized the new NBA basketball, Paul Pierce and Delonte West shrugged off the changes. "I think players are going to have to make an adjustment [to the ball]," Pierce said. "I've been playing with it all summer. At first, you're kind of hesitating, playing with [the ball] one way for so long. But that's the way it is.
High-Tech NBA Ball Already Getting Panned
Guard Chris Duhon said the ball actually gets more slippery as it is used. ''It's hard to catch, hard to shoot and hard to get some type of grip on it,'' Duhon said. ''I don't think they tested it to when it was late in the game, everybody's sweaty and [it] puts a huge damp on the ball. That's something we've got to get used to, and you can't change it now. So that's something we have to work through.''
Bulls Tackle Slippery Issue
"It's not very good, very slippery," said P.J. Brown. "When it gets wet with sweat, it's hard to handle. I don't like the texture of it. But what can you do? Everybody will go through the same thing." The new ball is a microfiber composite model rather than leather, and the league's first change in 35 years.
Zydrunas Ilgauskas is among many NBA players who are confused about the league's decision to change the most important component of the game -- the basketball. "I don't like it," Ilgauskas said of the new basketball that will be used this season. "I'm not big on change, and I didn't think there was anything wrong with the old ball." -- Cleveland Plain Dealer
Gooden Likes New Ball, LeBron Wouldn't Buy It
Shaquille O'Neal said the NBA front-office employee who made the move should have his college degree revoked. Players have grumbled about the slickness of the ball. But not everyone. Cavs forward Drew Gooden is one of those who like the feel. "I can palm this ball a lot better than I could before; it is easier to grip,'' Gooden said. With one exception. "When it gets wet, it gets slick. It might have to be like Wimbledon. When they get wet, we'll have to get a ball boy to bounce a new one in.''
New Ball Is All Wet
"As a kid going up through high school and then college, you dream about playing with that leather NBA basketball," Stackhouse said. "This new ball is the one I played with in the back yard when I was 12. "Nobody that ever played the game would want to change that ball. Nobody. Not Michael Jordan. Not Dr. J. Nobody." ... Point guard Devin Harris predicted sloppier games this season because of the ball. That's definitely not good news for a league that's tweaked the rules for years in an attempt to increase scoring while showcasing the best players in the world. "Once the ball gets wet, it's going to go everywhere," Harris said. "People going up for layups here are having the ball slip out. I think there's going to be more turnovers and lower shooting percentages."
Review Mixed On NBA's Microfiber Ball
The Nuggets shot an NBA-worst 32.5 percent from three-point range. Now, they head into a season using a ball some believe will hamper shooting percentages. "Not really," Nuggets forward Carmelo Anthony said when asked Wednesday at training camp at Fort Lewis College if he likes the league's new ball. "It feels like an outside ball I used to play with back in the day on the outside court. But we have no choice but to get used to it." ...
New Basketball Has Few Fans
The growing consensus among players is that the new micro-fiber composite Spalding ball the league will use this season is, well, terrible. "Terrible," Rasheed Wallace said. "I don't know why they did it. The thing that (upsets) me about it is, that's a major part of playing, and you can't just change it without getting the players' opinions on the ball before you change it." ... "They say this micro-fiber thing is better? Nah, give me that old-fashioned cowhide," Wallace said.
No Fun With New Ball
"It's a different ball," Vince Carter said yesterday of the ticky-tacky new micro-fiber models that make their debut this season. "It's not leather. A leather ball, when it gets wet, it's a little different. But I'm not [complaining] about it." ... Jason Kidd said there was nothing wrong with the old models. "They probably couldn't sell it," he said of the old leather balls. "It was an indoor ball. Not too many kids play inside. A lot of kids play outside, so maybe that was the reason." ...
Sixers Among Players To Slam New Ball
"I've been using it all summer," the Sixers' Andre Iguodala said. "It just wears down after about 2 to 3 weeks. The ball used in the summer got old. Now, I'm back to the newer new ball and I haven't had a good experience with it so far. "I guess the only thing you can do is, the more you touch it, the better you are. I have one in my room [at the team's hotel]. I play with it every night for about an hour." ... "We're going to have to do it like baseball, change, like, every five plays," Chris Webber said. Once it gets wet, it's terrible; it's tough, put it that way." ...
Nash Struggles To Get A Handle
"It's very difficult for us," Steve Nash said. "It's almost like you have to relearn how to make your plays because this ball sticks to your hand whereas the old ball slid in your hand nicely and it had a nice little touch off the floor and the backboard. This ball just grips the floor and grips the backboard so you have to change your game. "You make moves in traffic and the ball gets stuck in parts of your hands and your wrist where normally it slides and you get it back the way you want it. Now, even if it's in your hand, it sticks and you can't get rid of it sometimes. It's a really difficult ball to play with." ...
"I love it -- love it," point guard Jarrett Jack said. "A lot of guys who've been in the league for a while, they're used to a real leather ball. This is almost like a college ball to me. I'm more used to it." Added Joel Przybilla, like O'Neal a veteran center: "I like it because I can palm it. I've got small hands, and I could barely palm the old ball, and this one is a little more sticky." -- The Oregonian
Mixed Feelings About New Ball
Sonics guard Ray Allen understands the criticisms, but he declined to take sides on the issue, as did most Sonics. "Well, it is a little tougher to shoot," he said. "As big as our hands are, the ball is a lot softer and we can all palm it pretty easily. The discrepancy from one ball to the next is not that different, so each ball pretty much maintains the same feel and integrity. "But when it gets wet, it's probably a little more slippery." So is that a criticism or an endorsement? "I don't make it an issue because it doesn't matter to me," Allen said. -- Seattle Times
"You know," coach Jerry Sloan said, "all 30 teams have to play with it." ... Sloan did concede "it just seems strange, because I've been around the other ball so long." But, forward Matt Harpring said, "in a couple years it will be a non-issue." "Really, it's totally different," Harpring said. "But it's just something we've got to get used to." The biggest difference, according to Harpring: "It's stickier sometimes -- but slippery sometimes too." Harpring learned that when one of the new balls was shipped to him during the offseason -- a gift the league sent every player this past summer. Sloan, though, did not have one mailed to him. Not that he's about to go 'round and 'round complaining about that. "I don't know what I'd do with it," the 64-year-old Jazz coach said. "I can't bounce it anymore." -- Deseret Morning News
Thumbs Down For New Ball
Gilbert Arenas and several other Wizards are among the NBA players who do not like the league's new synthetic basketballs. Manufactured by Spalding, they are made of a microfiber composite rather than leather and are supposed to provide a better grip. However, Arenas is not a fan. "The only thing good about it is that it's grippy when you first touch it," Arenas said.